Thursday, August 30, 2012

Do you know how to prepare a meal for the next trip?

Traveling in an adventure style will let you have an experience to eat outside such as campaign in a forest or a mountain . So, learning how to make easy camping meals can save you a ton of time on your next camping trip. Though outdoor cooking can be fun, it’s never good to miss out on other outdoor activities because you’re stuck making food for everyone. Use the following guidelines to minimize the work and time it takes to make great meals on your next camping trip.

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Foil is Your Friend
If there’s one essential item you need to make camp cooking easier, it’s aluminum foil.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA release more options for summer promotion 2012

Accomodation is one of biggest concerns before traveling? It is turning to dust now with ATA’s Summer Promotion 2012.

                                 


Travelers will get 1 night at 3 Star Hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter (Calypso Boutique Hotel) for FREE. Deluxe room with luxury equipments and services are designed to ensure that you will have the unforgettable trip with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA.

In case you cannot visit Hanoi or you would like to arrange accommodation on your own, we are delighted to offer a dinner for 2 people at every destinations on your tour.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Motorcycling and trekking at Hai Van Pass

Once, with two wheels and some free time, I had the chance to see the stunning Hai Van Pass.The sun was hot, but the sky, ocean, and road were all clear, providing amazing views for photographers. The road climbs into the east side of Bach Ma National Park, overlooking Danang and Lang Co bays, spilling out into the East Sea. The winding road, mountain switchbacks (sometimes 180 degrees), and steep grades call for some serious focus on driving, but it’s all worth the trek.


I left Danang in the morning and started the ascent into the mountainous pass. Covered from head to toe from the scorching summer sun, I wondered if now was the best time of year to be making the journey. But as I ascended into the mountains, climbing higher and higher into the pass, the air turned cooler and cleaner, I then pulled off at a giant rock, climbed atop and looked out over the water. Danang city appears more beautiful than ever in the distance. It was worlds away from the hustle and bustle down below (though I did get coerced into having a café sua đa (iced milk coffee) after my rock climb.

As I went higher into the mountains, the road turned steeper and sharper with the sun rays growing stronger to make travelers stay and find solace in the shade of roadside trees. As the pass flattened out, I saw a string of restaurants and cafes surrounding by vendors and hawkers and decided to run to the other side of the mountain on Lang Co beach. Enjoying the downgrades, I let my motorbike do most of the work, and soaked in the amazing scenery stretching as far as to the horizon. Finally when I reached Lang Co beach there was nobody in sight on a white sandy oasis.

After spending there, I rode back up to the pass for another descent. From the top to the Danang side of the pass, my luck ran dry and my rear tire went flat. Amazingly, out of the blue, this could have happened anywhere. I found myself sipping cafe sua da as a roadside hut while waiting for a man with a tire repair kit to patch my worn inner tube. I had no problem with a hefty bill as I could never let a flat tire ruin my amazing day trip. Cruising down the mountain with the sun shining over my shoulders, I saw Danang coming into view with the Lady Buddha and Thuan Phuoc bridge glowing off in the distance to welcome me back from my amazing travel.


Whether you are going to see Hue or Danang, My Khe or Lang Co beach, or any scenery in the central Vietnam, a cruise along the Hai Van Pass is an unforgettable memory.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

10 reasons to choose Hanoi’s beer


Much has been written about beer - "bia hoi" in Vietnamese. It's a foamy, light-alcohol beer found mostly in northern Vietnam. Made fresh each day with few preservatives, the dregs are chucked down the gutter at close of business each day. This quick turnover and easy brewing means it's exceptionally cheap -- about 20 cents a glass, though Vietnam's rapid inflation may see that rise before publication -- and the establishments that serve it are also relatively basic.

1. Bia hoi is cheaper

Far, far cheaper  than its Czech-inspired counterpart. Though both cost peanuts compared to most places back home there's a certain satisfaction in knowing your dozen beers cost only US$3.


2. People are friendlier

It's a rare night you'll spend with friends clustered round the low-slung plastic stools of a bia hoi where some blinking, red-faced bloke won't lurch up to your table to repeatedly grasp your hand and yell, "Helloo! Hello! Helloh?" then invite you to join his mates for some rounds of cheap, rice-based spirits.

Foreigner drink beer on the pavement of street in Hanoi Old Quater

3. You can relax 

Smoking, slurping, dumping chicken bones on the floor -- all are acceptable behavior here. Nay, they're encouraged.

4. The food

Some bia hois serve execrable rubbish, but plenty serve excellent, freshly prepared dishes for very little cost.


Banana flower salad (nom hoa chuoi), barbecued chicken (ga nuong) and fried rice (com rang) are stalwarts. Just watch out for the mixed hotpot (lau thap cam) or pig stomach (da day).

5. Interesting local spirits

Vodka Hanoi (cheap, rice-based vodka with a slightly greasy aftertaste) is a standard but many places also stock ruou ong den -- rice wine infused with the whole bees' nest, not just the nectar -- or ruou dua, rice wine left to ferment in a coconut shell (it tastes a hell of a lot better than Malibu, believe us).

The hangover's never worth it, mind.

6. Street life

Usually these beer barns are open-walled and tables and chairs often spill onto the street. You may get a lungful of motorbike exhaust with your fried spinach, but you get a nice view as well. Others back onto lakes or parks, or the Mausoleum.

7. Watery, weak, but unique

It's rare in the south but unheard of in the rest of the world. Fresh, brewed daily and cheaper than any other beer, anywhere. That has to count for something in a world of generic, international brands. And it's no more watery than Bud or Coors, anyway.

8. Colonial heritage

Think of this: the French colonial oppressors brought bia to Vietnam to stop people wrecking themselves on dodgy rice spirit.

This is where bia hois originally came from. The pilsner beer halls are a result of people studying in former communist nations back in the days when everyone still knew the words to the Internationale.


But the leftovers of colonial rule -- the bia hois -- are still working men’s brew halls while the results of the egalitarian international brotherhood are there mostly for the rapidly emerging middle class.

9. It's egalitarian

Bia hoi gets more egalitarian yet. A bia hoi can be nothing more than a tiny grandmother sat roadside with a table, chairs, a keg and a few glasses.

Using technology no more complicated than a rubber pipe she sucks some frothy beer from the keg, so you can usually have a drink morning, noon or night. As Vietnam modernizes, beer for breakfast has become less common, but it was once a grand tradition.

10. No hangover

Though some drinkers will vehemently disagree, bia hoi doesn't usually leave you with a pounding hangover.


It's low alcohol content means it takes a concerted effort to get drunk enough to feel dreadful the next day. Most problems come from people getting a stale batch, something you have to watch out for. Drinking at busy places is a better idea.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Top 5 foods should try in Ha Noi

Vietnamese cuisine has many different dishes to sample and some of these dishes originated in Hanoi. In Hanoi you can enjoy traditional food in restaurants or road side stalls. Fresh ingredients are normally used which are brought from the market every morning. Noodle soup cooked in many different way, there are 5 foods you should not miss when traveling in Ha Noi.

1. Pho (Noodle food)
Pho, a typical dish of Hanoi people, has been existing for a long time. Pho is prepered not only in a sophisticated manner but also in the technique which is required to have sweet but pure bouillon, soft but not crasded noodle, soft and sweet smelling meat. Only in cold days, having a hot and sweet smelling bowl of Pho to enjoy would make you experience the complete flavor of the special dish of Hanoi.

2. Bun thang
Dishes made of soft noodle soup are diverse such as vermicelli and fried chopped meat, Bun Thang, vermicelli and sour crab soup, stewed vermicelli and boiled lean meat, etc. The popular dish is vermicelli and sour crab soup whilst Bun Thang is for con-noisseurs, unique and available in Hanoi only. A bowl of Bun Thang includes lean pork paste, thin fried egg, salted shredded shrimp, chicken, onion, shrimps paste, and a little Belostomatid essence. Especially, Bun Thang bouillon made from shrimps and meat must be very sweet and pure. Without enjoying Bun Thang when arriving to Hanoi, it somewhat seems to lack of a part of taste of Hanoi.

3. Bun cha
Bun Cha Hanoi is another great way to use what we have already made (thit nuong, a variation of nem nuong, and picked carrots and daikon). As the name implies, this dish originates from the city of Hanoi in northern Vietnam, but is very popular throughout the country. It is similar to Bun Thit Nuong, in that both vermicelli and thit nuong are used, however the difference is that it includes a cha (pork sausage patties) and both grilled meats are soaked in nuoc mam cham, allowing it to soak up all the flavors of the nuoc mam. The cha nuong in this dish is slightly different then nem nuong in that there’s less garlic and sugar and no baking powder, although if you made nem nuong, you can certainly use it to make bun cha Hanoi.

4. Banh cuon
Banh Cuon (Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls/Crepes) is the perfect holiday detox food. Banh cuon is a very light crepe often with ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and onions and eaten with Vietnamese ham (cha lua), steamed beansprouts, and cucumbers. Another variation arising from a village in Northern Vietnam famous for their banh cuon is called banh cuon “Thanh Tri” a style where the crepe is not rolled but kept in sheets without any filling, and sprinkled with fried onions.

5. Cha ca la Vong
One of Hanoi's most famous specialties is Cha Ca La Vong (La Vong grilled fish pies). The dish was invented by Doan family and has quickly become so popular that the name of the street where it is served was changed into Cha Ca (fish pie) from its former name Hang Son (Paint Street). To have tasty pie, the fish selected is Hemibagrus with solid fresh, less bones and good scent. Fish bones are left away to keep fish meat only, then seasoned with fish sauce, pepper, saffron and galingale. After that, the processed fish is grilled by coal heat and turned upside down to make both sides baked.
When serving, an oven of coal is needed to keep Cha Ca always hot. It is served with rice vermicelli, dried pancakes, roasted peanuts, sliced onion leaves, basil and shrimp paste with lemon and chilly.Hanoians often eat this dish while sipping some alcohol in the cold weather. If you are in Hanoi, you should come and explore the grilled fish pie yourself.